“There’s a phase in middle school that I call ‘dorkestra’ when students start to see their friends quit [playing the cello] because the instrument is too difficult or not ‘cool’ enough,” said Erinn Renyer, director Topeka Cello Collective and Washburn Cello Ensemble. Helping students overcome this stanza was just one impetus for starting Topeka Cello Collective. “Giving students an opportunity to meet other like-minded people, from different schools around northeast Kansas really helps propel them as players,” said Erinn. Members range in age from middle school to adults, but all must have a few years of cello musical experience under their belts before joining. Erinn screens all members, placing them in appropriate sections reflective of their ability levels, ensuring balance and success will fostering growth.
Here at seveneightfive, we know that playing an instrument is the furthest from “dork” thing one can participate in, as it is these talented artists that fill the pages of our magazine year after year, issue after issue and where we spend our Friday nights – choosing to spend money to hear and witness amazing local and national musicians.
Fellowship is another reason Erinn started Topeka Cello Collective 10 years ago. “I noticed that students were needing an outlet for cello fellowship.” Today, TCC has high school seniors who have know one another through TCC since middle school, forging strong friends and aligning with musical and creative purposes.
Topeka Cello Collective presents their third “Rockin’ the Jayhawk” concert, virtually, Thursday, July 30 at 7p. This year’s concert features a diverse catalog of songs from various rock ‘n’ roll hall of fame giants including Zepplin and the band Kansas. The rock concert features 35 cellists plus an electric guitarist, bassist and percussionist. Last year’s “Rockin’ the Jayhawk” was a tribute to Queen.
The performers take to the historic Jayhawk Theatre for the show, marking July 30th as the debut of Jayhawk Theatre LIVE, a virtual production that is certain to rock all broadcast channels. Jeff Carson, Gizmo Pictures and president of the Jayhawk Theatre board has been working tireless with a handful of talented volunteer professionals to produce a multi-camera, superior visual concert experience. Viewers will have the opportunity to see musicians up-close while they play, something not offered via traditional in-person events. Suki Blakley, from Suki.Inc, Topeka Blues Society and Jayhawk Theatre board member has also been leading the charge – bringing her audio and showmanship expertise to the production. seveneightfive magazine is proud to be a small part of this epic concert, helping connect all the pieces to deliver a multi-streamed concert experience. The concert is free, donations are accepted and benefit Jayhawk Theatre. Azura Credit Union is a sponsor of the event. Guests are asked to RSVP via the ticket link online at JayhawkTheatre.org and register for the event.